Ted Cruz wants to be an American president, quotes ‘The American President’

March 23, 2016
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) afternoon general session in Washington March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) afternoon general session in Washington March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz went on CNN this morning and responded to a cryptic tweet Donald Trump sent threatening to “spill the beans” on Cruz’s wife, Heidi:

The tweet was in response to an advertisement reportedly sent out on Facebook by an anti-Trump Super PAC showing Trump’s wife, Melania, naked on a fur rug. It’s the latest ugly turn in an increasingly contentious campaign, one that has reignited the debate over whether candidates’ families are fair game. It’s also not super great for women, by some people’s estimations.

But there is one other revelation from this story — by far the least important of all revelations and yet, here we are — and it is this: Ted Cruz is a big ol’ Aaron Sorkin fanboy.

Let’s examine something Cruz said during his CNN interview:

“I gotta tell you that number one, Heidi, my wife, she is the daughter of missionaries in Africa, she is my best friend in the world, and if Donald wants to get in a character fight, he’s better off sticking with me because Heidi is way out of his league.”

If you’re the kind of person who owns “The American President” on DVD, or (just for example) can rank her top 10 favorite “West Wing” characters off the top of her head on command, this turn of phrase might sound eerily familiar. It may sound a little like…

Andrew Shepherd! The president from “The American President” and frequent member of every person’s Top Five Best Fictional Presidents of All Time list, somewhere between President Josiah Bartlet and “Dave.” It was he who first defended upstanding lobbyist (first for everything) Sydney Ellen Wade from the vicious barbs of his political opponent with the phrase:

“You want a character debate, Bob, you better stick with me because Sydney Ellen Wade is way out of your league.”

Surprisingly, Cruz isn’t the first politician to have cribbed lines from this particular address. In 2012 the Australian transport minister used parts of this famed “we have serious problems” speech, according to the Telegraph.

Someone may owe Sorkin a royalty check.

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